I am mad. Perhaps “mad” is a bit of a strong word, but I think it’s applicable. I’ve been doing a bit of thinking these past few days, all because of this story. Which, is probably longer than you care to read, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. It’s crucial to the basis of what got me thinking.
The other night, I went to a “serious” (as the youth pastor stated) girls’ Bible study. I guess my definition of “serious” is a little out-of-date for the youth of today. Let me explain. I’ll start from the beginning. When I got there, I noted the immodest appearance of the girls who were already there, as well as the interesting styles and colors of hair. Now, I try not to judge unfairly and stereotype with prejudice, per se, but I also don’t want to be naïve and gullible, so I just filed these observations away in the little file cabinet in my noggin. When everyone’s chit-chat had died down some, the lady who was in charge (of the group of four of us) asked if anyone had any prayer requests. She continued to tell me that everything that was spoken in the group, stayed in the group – don’t tell your parents. My engrained red flags popped up, but I simply nodded my head. (Because I’m dying to spill everyone’s secrets to the hoards of people I know around here.) She then played a fifteen-minute Francis Chan video, which I was happy about. After it was done, she asked if anyone had any comments or questions. No one spoke. Moving on, she began to describe some of the devotional books she was considering covering in the class, as it was only just starting up, and asked for input. The response that stuck with me the most from one particular girl was, “Do I have to do anything? If I have to bring my Bible or do something, I don’t want any part of it.” I kept my jaw from falling to the floor. Somebody please explain to me (if possible), why would you be part of a Bible study if you DIDN’T EVEN WANT TO REMEMBER TO BRING YOUR BIBLE?! Much less have to do anything?! Anyway, moving on. Probably the most humorous for me (being raised the way I have, in the home and church that I have), and yet still sadly disturbing, thing that I can remember was when the topic of sexual purity came up. One girl proudly boasted that she was the only girl to answer the questions on sexual purity from last year, because she was the only one with a boyfriend. She proceeded to look at me and say, “I’m so sorry, that was rude that we didn’t ask you! Do you have a boyfriend?” Me: “Noooo.” (I shared with them Cassie’s wonderful blog later on.) The lady in charge reminded the girl, “She just moved, she probably doesn’t have one here. She probably left one at home.” Me: “Noooo.” I had forgotten that it’s entirely normal for fourteen- and fifteen-year old girls to have boyfriends in this culture’s day and age.
Anyway, suffice it to say, in addition to some other things not mentioned above, I got my first glimpse in a long time of what teens today are really like.
Allow me to give you my sheltered background. I entered my teen years in an uber-conservative church, with uber-conservative (and legalistic) views on just about everything. This church was incredibly good for me when I first started going, as I was going through a period of rebellion and was on a bad path toward the world. But as I’ve been raised in an uber-conservative (I like the word “uber” just in case you couldn’t tell) environment and atmosphere, I haven’t exactly been around a bunch of worldly teens. The teens I hung out with and interacted with had pretty much the same ideas as me concerning most things and were all conservative and homeschooled. There at the Bible study, I can guarantee you I would not agree with them concerning most anything, as well as the added fact that they were public schooled (I’m not judging, I’m not judging, just ask me later if you wanna talk about my views on public schoolers).
What has stuck with me, both through the experience and afterward, is the apathy of our generation of teenagers. Those girls that I saw at the “serious” Bible study, they didn’t care truly about their relationship with God. The lady in charge gave the lesson of “put your phones down for a minute, and send a prayer up to God just sayin’, ‘Yo God, whassup?’” (literally, word for word what she said). Those girls had been in that group for at least a year, though I’m sure probably longer. If you can go to church for that long, if you can go to a Wednesday night Bible study for that long, and hear the Bible taught, hear God’s word, and still need the reminder as the lesson to say “Yo God, whassup?”, then I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that you really don’t care. I could be wrong. But considering that you would go to a Bible study without your Bible, not be interested in doing anything with a devotional book, ask “How looong is this gonna take?”, and be sending Tweets throughout the lesson, I think I can stereotype you with the “I don’t care” group of teens. For those girls, I think they were probably at just about all that they could handle in terms of a “serious” Bible study. I’m not one to be pointing fingers, but I can say that this generation needs to wake up.
My mom shared this article with me recently, and it literally had me yelling “No! No! No!” as I was reading it. I don’t typically make loud, audible outbursts while reading an article, but this one did it for me. Stop reading here, and take a minute to look at this. And then come back, I’m not finished rambling yet. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_23339492/27-things-do-before-you-graduate-high-school?utm_source=Master+List+of+Subscribers&utm_campaign=1e52161bcb-9-3-15+Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1d9c893e5b-1e52161bcb-190187401
People, the teen years are the prime years of our lives. I fully believe it and have been assured by people much older and wiser than me that it’s true. Make the most of it. Use them for God’s glory, not your own! We are capable of SO much more than the world thinks we can do.
As an additional note, for any of you who haven’t, please read Do Hard Things, by Alex and Brett Harris. Please, please, please. It will totally make everything that I’m saying 100% clearer, and say it 100% better than I can.
Back to my rambling. Do we really want to fall under the list of teenagers that aspire to fall asleep in class before they graduate? Do we really want to live up to those expectations? Do we want to have on our list of accomplishments in our teenaged years, “Went to a prom”? REALLY?? Or do we want to be teenagers who used their youth to serve the Lord in mighty ways, accomplishing great things for His kingdom? Do we want to be able to rise up against the expectations that the world has set before us, and do so much more than people think is possible of what teenagers have become? Do we want to fit the stereotypical rebellious, lazy teenager? Or do we want something more?
I want to do hard things. Even if they’re the small hard things. I want to show people that teenagers can do hard things. We don’t have to show people that they’re right and we live up to their expectations! We can be more! But just as much, I want to help other teens to share that vision. I want to not be one of the few who has these goals, these ambitious aspirations. I want to help others obtain this idea that we can do so much more than is expected.
That’s why I’m mad. I want teens to change the way that they live, to abolish this philosophy the world has engrained in their minds and hearts. I want them to kill their self-centered drive and live for the Lord and to serve Him with their teenaged years. I want them to stop living their lives like every day exists for their pleasure. Just, stop it! I want them to do hard things.